Merry Christmas Lighting Nativity

December 20th, 2018
Merry Christmas Lighting Nativity
Every night in the two weeks leading up to Christmas, the cast of the Lights of Lobethal Living Nativity gather in the basement of the Lobethal Lutheran church to prepare for their first performance of the night.

Shepherds and angels make the final touches to their costumes, the three wise man stand to the side, fully garbed, in conference all while the night’s holy parents – on this occasion Nathan and Jade Schubert – feed and change eight-month-old Austin ahead of his debut as baby Jesus.

Although an inexperienced actor, Nathan says he’s not nervous about fronting up to Lobethal dressed as Joseph.

“Usually I work behind the camera,” Nathan says.

“I’ve worked for Channel 10 behind the scenes for about eight years and I am due to start a new job at the Influencers Church in Paradise working on their A/V tech.”

Nathan and Jade attend St Michael’s Lutheran Church in Hahndorf where they were encouraged to be part of the living nativity.

The night’s mother Mary is Jade Schubert whose most recent acting experience was in Year 12 drama.

While straightening up her blue hood and receiving final directions, Jade said she felt lucky to be part of the living nativity.

“It’s great to be able to celebrate Jesus's birthday,” she said.

“The true meaning of Christmas is joy.

“This is an opportunity to share that joy – and the joy of god – with others.

“But it’s not about just getting that joy for yourself.”

Outside in the mist and drizzle of residual December rain, a crowd gathers in front of the manger.
Strings of red, blue, green and yellow lights surround the scene.

Church bells sound out.

A pair of hired camels lead the procession of shepherds, wise men, angels and the holy family, drawing excitement from the anticipating crowd as they lumber past the manger.

The story is narrated by a recording with the players mouthing their parts and joining in the hymns sung by an illuminated choir.

In an action reminiscent of a rock concert, the three wise men pace in front of the crowd, lifting their hands to encourage onlookers into raising their voices.

Arch angel Gabriel speaks to Joseph who stands in front of the manger miming a sleeping revelation: Mary will give birth to the son of god.

A camel groans loudly.

Joseph raises a thumb to the sky, expressing the glad tidings.

Mary and Jesus sit next to the manger calmly – the feeding and changing before going on stage has kept little Austin contented amidst the caroling and an increasingly disgruntled camel wrestling with its handler.

God’s words are projected through the speakers in a voice underwritten with heavy bass prompting one child in the audience to exclaim she could “feel his words in her chest”.

The three wise men notice a star above the manger and high five each other.

As they present the baby Jesus with his gifts, the narrator opines on the nature of the offerings.
“Myrrh was not an ordinary gift for a child,” she says.

“It was used for embalming.”

A rendition of silent night draws a big response from the crowd.

The whole cast of shepherds, angels, wise men and holy family stand in front of the manger to bring the performance to a close with a modern version of ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’ complete with electronic drum backing.

The Living Nativity is performed at 8.50pm and 9.20pm each night outside the Lobethal Lutheran Church until their last show on December 23.

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